Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Editorial: LA Downtown News | Aug 20, 2007

We're still annoyed by what happened at the Miguel Contreras Learning Center pool, the one where the city and the LAUSD can't find lifeguards so that the neighborhood residents can swim at the brand-spanking-new City West sea of cool water.

It was Reggie the Alligator that did it, that brought the subject back to these pages. Reggie escaped his fancy new digs at the Los Angeles Zoo, supposedly leveraging himself with his tail over the big chain-link fences. After finally finding him taking a snooze hundreds of yards away, the zoo immediately threw even more money at the Reggie problem and put a 24-hour watch on him so that he can't get out again.

We're big Reggie fans, and sure, we want everybody to be safe, but we sort of hope he escapes again, just because we like how he outsmarts humans. But that's not the point here. The point is that government finds money to do the things it really wants to do, and that darned pool ought to be a lot higher on government's list. If they can put a 24-hour watch on Reggie, they can staff up the Contreras pool for community use. As we said last week, a few weeks of bus rides from the pool to other pools (the city's response) is a tardy and paltry solution.

Since last we addressed this issue, City Councilman Tom LaBonge has taken us on one of his famous drives around the community, and he reminded us that the pool problem isn't so simple. Limiting access to other areas of the school is problematic, for instance. And it is a competition pool, meaning all deep water, no shallow end, so non-swimmers and little kids really can't use it.

Those are good points, but the largely underserved community is still hot. So go ahead, continue busing little kids and non-swimmers to the other pools, but get some lifeguards and do what needs to be done to open the pool to swimmers. We bet Reggie could figure this out. Why can't government?

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